The vice for betting and the international dispute over the Arab project of a parallel circuit put him at a crossroads: will he defend, from May 19, the PGA title he won a year ago?
Six Majors won, Top50 in the world ranking for over 25 consecutive years, the last major competition won just a year ago. Phil Mickelson a golf legend contemporary, the strongest if that Tiger Woods phenomenon had not existed, but for a few months he has not been seen on official golf courses, retired to a private life almost as if he were a hermit.
What happened to Lefty, so named for his left-handed grip, just days before the start of the PGA Championship he is expected to defend, having triumphed in South Carolina in 2021? Many wonder because the Californian player, born in San Diego 51 years ago, he is regularly registered, but no one is sure of his actual participation, not even the CEO of the PGA Seth Waugh, one of the last public figures to have spoken with him. Appreciated by the fans for his sympathy and always present smile on his face, in recent weeks they may have weighed on his private life several episodes capable of compromising his reputation and, perhaps, inevitably influencing his career as well. Some say they have seen him take a few shots at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in California, but not a guarantee of his actual return to the green.
The insults to the Arabs
On May 17, the biography of the champion just written by the American journalist Alan Shipnuck will be released. A few lines of the text, released as an anticipation by the Golf Digest newspaper, could only immediately trigger the controversy. Arabs are bastards to do business with, Mickelson’s words reported by Shipnuck. And then: They killed the journalist Khashoggi and already have a horrible human rights reputation. It is enough to be gay to be sentenced. I considered their project only for the possibility of thus forcing the PGA Tour to reform, we players don’t earn enough. Whereas Lefty has already received from the sheikhs a total of over 28 million euros to embrace their project, and knowing how much they can have taken it from the parts of Riyadh, with a similar declaration the golfer ended up immediately between a rock and a hard place, with the same sponsors which disappeared in a short time.
The hunger for money
To better understand his position, it is necessary to go back about a year, when, similarly to what was happening for football, the Saudis decided to present to the golf champions a sumptuous project that could establish itself as an alternative to the existing American federations. An ambitious plan that will challenge the status quo as early as next June, guaranteed by the great liquidity that Arab billionaires can offer. Mickelson did not take long to accept the money, interested in the initiative disliked by the PGAas well as his other colleagues on the circuit, above all the Australian champion Greg Normanput in charge of the operation. The words of the American player are therefore a cold shower which he could pay for himself. Why so much hungry for money by a player who in his career has earned over 100 million euros in prizes alone, without considering sponsors and advertising?
The vice of the game
Why does Mickelson have the bad habit of the game: it never got rid of it and over time it has reached the levels of a real disease. A addiction to gambling which led him to bet on anything, from sport to political achievements, up to the weather. Between 2010 and 2014, considered the worst years of his addictioncome to lose 40 million dollars, the equivalent of 38 million euros. So much he earned, so much he lost, until even a questionable offer like the Arab one was immediately accepted without second thoughts, for the sole need to make cash. The nice and winning image
by Mickelson, after years of success not only on the green but also on TV, between commercial agreements and participation in broadcasts, overshadowed by vice and an increasingly uncomfortable positionin which the proverbial Harlequin re-emerges who cannot serve two masters. Playing the PGA Championship, with your tail between your legs, will mean having to pay back what you received from the sheikhswhile the relationship with the Saudis is unlikely to return to what it was before.With the Major to defend which will start next May 19th
, in the next few days Lefty will have to pocket his hardest shot.
May 11, 2022 (change May 11, 2022 | 14:43)
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